With turbo and supercharging becoming quite common, there is no absolute need for massive cubic-inch engines. Smaller displacement engines can get the job done just as good as their larger cousins and with greater fuel-efficiency to boot. But there is something old-school and elemental about a simple giant motor without modern gimmickry. As the saying goes, "there is no replacement for displacement."
While each of the big three domestic automakers - Ford, Chevy, Dodge - have progressed ICE development considerably, the excitement truly resides in their old-school big-blocks. To keep things simple (and fair) I've limited the list to naturally aspirated crate motors sold directly by the manufacturers. If you wanted you could easily build a 4-digit hp monster from each of the Big Three's parts catalogs and that could great crazy.
First up is the Dodge 392 HEMI. Retailing at a price of $9,960, the 6.4 liter mill has 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. It's a complete assembly containing water pump, flywheel, clutch, oil pan, intake manifold, fuel injectors, and coil packs. It has a 103.9mm bore and a stroke of 94.6mm with a compression ratio of 10.9:1. The block is a cast iron unit with 4-bolt main caps, forged steel crank, hypereutectic pistons, and floating pin rods. Within the aluminum HEMI heads sit 54.3mm intake valves and 42mm exhaust valves allowing the motor to spin to a redline of 6,400 rpm. Good hp for the dollar.
Next on our list is the might Chevy 572. I mean if 9.4 liters isn't a big-block I don't know what is! With a sale price of $15,910.34 it certainly is more expensive than the Dodge, but you are getting 621 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Yes, I know Chevy also sells a 572 with 720 hp but that one is a 13:1 compression grenade motor. Good luck with that on the street running $10 a gallon 104/110 octane.
Inside is a cast-iron block with 4-bolt caps, forged crank, rods, and pistons, and a hydraulic roller cam with a massive .632 inches of lift. Up top are a pair of aluminum rectangular port heads stuffed with 2.25 inch intake valves, 1.88 inch exhaust valves, roller rockers, and 850 cfm carb with relatively mild 9.6:1 compression ratio. A water pump, HEI distributor, wires, and flexplate round out the package.
And last, but certainly not least, from the Blue Oval is Ford's own 572. Based on the venerable 385-series motor that has been produced for decades and found in countless Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln cars, this iteration pumps out a massive 655 hp and 710 lb-ft of torque. And at a price of $17,795 it certainly doesn't come cheap, but it is stocked with tons of go-fast goodies. The block is an extremely robust Ford Performance A460 unit with SCAT crank and rods, Diamond forged pistons, and hydraulic roller cam with .649 inches of lift! Wow! Aluminum Super Cobra Jet heads sit up top fitted with 2.20 intakes and 1.76 exhaust valves and Crower roller rockers with a 10:1 compression ratio. A Holley carb, Edelbrock intake and MSD distributor round out the package. Check it out.